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Sony Net plans to proceed with ISP launch

Digital music portal in the pipeline too

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Sony's designs on the Net-connected home are coming closer to fruition - the company has said it will launch its own ISP in the US in a few months' time.

And the consumer electronics giant will soon launch a music download service called Sony Music Club.

Details of either service are vague. That both are on the cards was confirmed by the president of Sony US' e-commerce operation, Robert Ashcroft, in an interview with CNET.

Ashcroft admitted the ISP is in the works, but would say no more. The online music venture is a partnership with Listen.com and will offer music from artists signed to other labels, he said, but would give no further details.

Sony's Net plans centre on the provision of digital media to the home via broadband connections, primarily hooked up to the company's PlayStation 2 console, which will increasingly be marketed not only as a games machines but as the home's gateway to the Internet. Since the announcement of the PlayStation 2 over a year ago, Sony has been busily developing partnerships with networking and Internet companies in order to build a collection of Web-based e-commerce services.

Sony's gameplan calls for these services to be in place by March 2001.

And it's not just the PlayStation 2 that will be connected to the Net - Sony's recently announced PalmPowered Entertainment PDA can be hooked up to a cellphone and via that device to the Internet.

Meanwhile, it has also begun reorganising its own content companies - Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment - under an umbrella organisation called Sony Broadband. ®

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